because i had grown weary of my "bad books" icon, because thermidor wanted some turnbull, and because -- why not?
"Constable Turnbull," I said, rather sharply, "are you intoxicated?"
Renfield giggled, which perhaps answered my question, and said, "I'm not as drunk as -- I'm not as think as you think -- wait."
I sighed, all doubts removed. "The Inspector's taxi has just departed. Shall I call you another?"
"I'm not as think as you drunk I am," Renfield pronounced with great care.
"Would you like a taxi?" I said, enunciating each word clearly. My voice was rising; I could hear the echoes in the empty lobby, and I made a conscious effort to calm down. Within minutes, surely, Renfield would leave and I would have what I'd begun to consider my Consulate all to myself again.
"I can leave in a taxi," he said. I started to turn toward the phone, but a hand on my shoulder stopped me. "I can leave in a huff!" Renfield said. "I can leave in a minute-and-a-huff!"
"Would you just leave," I said, and stopped. I should not leave a fellow countryman to Chicago's streets in this state.
"But I don't want to leave," Renfield said. "You don't leave."
I sighed. "I sleep here."
Renfield smiled. "I could sleep here."
I rolled my eyes and said, with what I admit was impatience and rudeness, "What, in the Queen's Bedroom? Or in my bedroom?"
Renfield's hand on my shoulder grew heavier and he leaned in, laughing in soft gusts of rum-scented amusement. He met my eyes and asked, "Is there truly a difference?" and then, while I was still open-mouthed with offended astonishment, he kissed me.
It was not a shy kiss. His lips parted mine with a boldness abetted by my own shock and his tongue slid deeply into my mouth until I had to clutch at him to remain upright. Renfield was perhaps the very last man I expected to simply lean forward and kiss me, and for long moments I returned his embrace reflexively. In my defense, I had imbibed no small amount of rum myself that evening, and the sweet taste of it was still present in both of our mouths.
When he pulled back from the kiss, I spent further time simply staring at him in amazement. His face, on-duty usually taut with studious concentration on whatever menial task was before him, had relaxed into quite a handsome smile -- this was not the first time I had noticed this change, or for that matter noticed the attractiveness of the attendant smile, but this was a new context for everything.
"The Queen's Bedroom is upstairs," he prompted.
"No," I said, shaking my head and putting one arm around Renfield's shoulders. I led the way down the hall to my own bedroom. "It's this way."
Mood: pleased Music: wildcats, i feel the earth move